Home Forums Reef Discussion Critter id help – mass of translucent tubes on liverock –

7 replies, 4 voices Last updated by  jblco 4 weeks, 1 day ago
Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
  • #1122348


    Hi All


    Ok. so i was poking around my liverock in my tank at night with a flashlight and a magnifying glass (a fun late night adventure for the curious) and found what looks like a mass of tubes, translucent, and the color of rice noodles draped across a piece of rock.  Having a degree in Marine Geology and lots of coursework in micropaleo, biology and the like, i have to admit i am a bit stumped.  First thought is some sort of tunicate colony, but they tend to have an inlet and an outlet.  The tubes appear to be made of tissue verses a calcarious/mineral structure and I can see no annelid worms or other critters living in the tubes. (definatelly not a coco worm, tube worm, or the like since the tubes are hollow and I can see nothing inside them.)  I have attached a cellphone photo, a bit crappy admitedly, but the whitish masss in the center is the ‘colony’.  Kinda nondescript,  just a mass of tubes attached to the liverock. maybe 1/8 – in diameter, maybe 2-3 inches long.  they are branched and interconnected.


    It seems benign, but in this game, some of the most innocent looking critters can do real damage to a reef tank.    I have done the usual internet research and nothing seems to fit.   then again there are some 2500+ species of tunicates so that is my best guess based on the apparent morphological  function of the stuctures, but even at my old age I learn something new every day .


    Tank stats for the curious:  55 gal, skimmer, canister filter, 165 watt LED, all water params well in normal range, everybody happy – mixed reef up for 6 months so far…

    been doing marine off and on since the days of ozone reactors, under gravel filters, and bleaching all coral before putting in tank ….(1970?) and have seen a lot of stuff in tanks and in the wild, but for some reason, never seen this before.  It may be a common thing that I just have not encountered in my tanks before….

    Thanks for any ideas or id…





    Looks like some sort of sponge to me.


    • Johns Creek
      • Posts:4924
      • President

    Sponge or Tunicate




    Morphologically that makes sense.  I usually see sponges after they are ‘grown’  so a sponge ‘in the making’ would be a good guess.  will observe to see how it develops.





    There are many types of sponges.  That’s a very common one you are seeing there and that is the “grown” stage already.  It’s a good thing though to have.



    Thanks everybody.


    When I restarted this tank a few months ago i started with dry rock, so i was a bit surprised  to see it growing in the corner.  Most sponges Ive encountered tended to be little ‘balls” of fluff scattered here and there.  As I stated before,  even at my age and experience I still learn new stuff every day, and even though it may be a common sponge, the form is new to me….My knowledge is more geared to dead marine critters with hard parts that fossilize and the rocks they live on (or became a part of…)   Ahhh, the wonderful diversity of nature…


    Better to ask a dumb question, rather than assume it’s benign and have a real problem later….not to mention the cost and headache of a tank failure and loss of my wonderful critters…The one thing I do know is that in this game, it is best to proceed with an abundance of caution and move slowly, unless u have definite reasons to hurry…..


    Thanks again for all the input.   Something new to observe……



    No worries friend.  My apologies as well, by calling them common I didn’t intend to besmirch your knowledge.  It’s clear you have a vast amount to offer us and I’m very glad you’re posting here :).  The little white ball types are typically called pineapple sponges and are also quite lovely.



    No Problem…..

    We all have different experiences and knowledge.  Too much out there to know everything.  Asking questions is how we learn, besides making mistakes….I have always believed in the doctrine of no stupid questions….Its a journey, enjoy and learn….I’m sure I will be asking more…

    Thanks for the lesson…..

    And the sponge does look very cool….





Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.